Sunday, March 29, 2009

Men, Your Anxiety Can Kill You!

The role of anxiety in hiking heart attack risk also goes beyond the effects of depression, anger, hostility, Type A behavior and other negative emotions. These psychological factors are important in predicting the risk of heart disease, but anxiety is unique. Older men with sustained and pervasive anxiety appear to be at increased risk for a heart attack even after their levels of depression, anger, hostility and Type A behavior are considered.

Although most people think of anxiety as intense worry, it id looked much deeper than this and can be examined in four different measures.
The first anxiety scale measured psychasthenia, or excessive doubts, obsessive thoughts and irrational compulsions. The second anxiety scale measured social introversion, or anxiety, insecurity, and discomfort in interpersonal and social situations. The third anxiety scale measured phobias, or excessive anxieties or fears about animals, situations or objects. The fourth anxiety scale, manifest anxiety, measured the tendency to experience tension and physical arousal in stressful situations.

It was found that men who tested at the highest 15th percentile on any of the four anxiety scales, as well as on a scale combining all four, faced an increase in the risk of heart attack of approximately 30 to 40 percent. Those who were found to have even higher levels of anxiety on psychological testing faced an even higher risk of heart attack. This finding held true even after the findings were adjusted for standard cardiovascular risk factors, health habits, and negative psychological and personality traits.

The good thing about
anxiety is that it's very treatable, and if someone is highly anxious--if they're suffering from panic attacks or social phobia or constant worry--therapy is available. Although more research is needed about anxiety, it is hoped that by reducing anxiety future risk of heart attack will also be lowered . The subject of the studies/research so far is on men. The role of anxiety provoking heart attacks on women have not been addressed yet. Thus, for men out there, you better be relaxed. Everything will be all right. Don't be too anxious or you'll risk your heart.

Further information and related topics can be found in Science Daily.